CLIFTON PARK — Shenendehowa proved Tuesday that it has multiple ways of winning.
Offensively and defensively, the Plainsmen set the tone in a 62-35 win over rival Saratoga Springs in Suburban Council boys’ basketball action on the final night of the regular season.
Offensively, Shenendehowa was 7 of 10 shooting from the field in the opening quarter, but only led 18-14. It stretched the lead to 29-20 by halftime on the strength of its shifting defenses, forcing the Blue Streaks into a 3 of 12 shooting second quarter. Shenendehowa also made three of its seven 3-pointers that period.
On top of that, the first half was a highlight reel for Plainsmen senior Mason Courtney, who collected 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first 16 minutes.
“We’ve been working on our rebounding all week and boxing out, because they’ve got a lot of strong guys that like to battle around in there,” said Courtney, who finished with game-highs of 17 points and 13 rebounds. “The ball bounced my way and other guys were boxing out; I was just able to get the rebounds. I’m just happy we came out with the win.”
Plainsmen center Miles Peterson (nine points) and Courtney attracted more attention underneath in the second quarter, allowing the 3s to happen.
“When we get double-teamed, that leaves one of our guys open. It just makes us that much better,” Peterson said.
Shenendehowa (11-3 league, 14-6 overall) got out to another fast start in the third quarter, scoring the first eight points, punctuated by a 3-pointer from Robby Hicks (12 points).
The third was another rough shooting quarter for the Blue Streaks (7-7, 10-10), as Shenendehowa played a defense that switched between a triangle-and-two, box-and-one and zone throughout the night.
“That’s something new, we’ve been experimenting,” Courtney said. “We’ve got a lot of young people that haven’t played the 3-2 before, so the 3-2 wasn’t really working as we planned, so we switched it up and did whatever works, and this obviously worked real well for us.”
“I think Shen plays good defense and they had a good defensive plan,” Saratoga Springs coach Matt Usher said. “They did a nice job on us, but we missed some shots we’re very capable of making. Obviously, part of that’s what Shen was doing, but [it was] one of those nights where we missed a lot of open looks and they did a great job knocking theirs down.”
Shenendehowa had a comfortable 50-30 lead after the third, forcing Saratoga Springs into attempting even more 3-pointers, which didn’t fall. Still, Usher said his team has been on a good streak before Tuesday, and his players shouldn’t forget that.
“Obviously, tonight is a step backwards,” Usher said, ”but we talked about trying to focus on gearing up here the next week and trying to get back to doing things we did well that helped us win some games the past couple of weeks .”
Ethan Straughter’s seven points led Saratoga Springs.
The Plainsmen are also eagerly awaiting sectionals.
“We obviously want to see some of the teams that beat us earlier in the year, just because of our pride, and we think we can hang with them and beat them,” Courtney said. “We’re not overlooking anyone. Whoever’s in front of us, we’re going to scout them and take them seriously, but we’re really just looking forward to seeing how far we can go.”
Saratoga Springs 14 6 10 5 — 35
Shenendehowa 18 11 21 12 — 62
Saratoga Springs scoring: Snyder 2-0-5, Waite 3-0-6, Barile 1-0-3, Carpenter 1-0-2, Masten 1-0-2, Reynolds 2-0-4, Straughter 3-1 -7, Dagostino 2-0-6. Shenendehowa scoring: Seeberger 3-0-8, Hicks 4-2-12, Ceccuci 2-0-6, Massaroni 0-2-2, McAuliffe 2-0-4, Courtney 5-5-17, Sutherland 2-0- 4, Peterson 4-1-9. Scoring totals: Saratoga Springs 15-1-35, Shenendehowa 22-10-62.